The auction market may have just set a record for the shortest-lived record.
One night after Sotheby’s set a new benchmark for the largest jewelry sale ever with its $141 million sale in Geneva, the Christie’s May 14 Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva “blue” that away with an even-more-incredible $154 million tally.
Both topped the previous champ, Christie’s first-night sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry, which brought in $114 million.
The star of the Christie’s show was the Blue, a 13.22 ct. fancy vivid flawless pear-shape that fetched $24.2 million. The stone, accompanied by a letter from GIA that said it was the largest fancy vivid blue the lab had ever seen, was described by jewelry specialist Jean-Marc Lunel as “absolutely pure externally and internally. It is almost a dream.”
The stone’s winner was Harry Winston, which rechristened it the Winston Blue. This is the second time in the last year the Swatch Group–owned retailer purchased a notable stone; it spent $27 million on the 101.73 ct. D flawless Winston Legacy last May. “When Christie’s announced they were offering the largest flawless fancy vivid blue the GIA had ever graded, I had to buy it,” said Harry Winston CEO Nayla Hayek in a statement.
At $1,799,953 a carat, the sale may have scored a photo-finish per-carat record for a blue diamond, inching out an April 2013 sale at Bonhams, where a deep-blue cushion fetched $1,799,883 a carat. In any case, says president of Christie’s Switzerland François Curiel, “This is a record for a vivid blue flawless, while the Bonhams stone was deep blue, VS2.”
The overall hammer price, however, falls slightly short of the $24.3 million paid for the 35.56 ct. Wittelsbach in 2011.
The sale notched four other world auction records, including:
A 76.51 ct. square-cut light pink VVS1 necklace by Leviev realized $10 million, a record total for a pink diamond.
A 21.41 ct. Russian alexandrite took in $1.3 million, a record auction price for a piece of alexandrite.
A 49.04 ct. pink sapphire went for $2 million, a world auction record for a pink sapphire.
“The jewelry market continues to remain extremely vibrant, and we look forward to a buoyant season as we move into auctions at Christie’s Hong Kong, London, Paris, and New York,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s jewelry department.
Photos courtesy of Christie’s